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Guide to Weathered Cedar Shingles

Guide to Weathered Cedar Shingles

No house is complete without a roof, as it's an essential part of your home's structure and appearance. Roofs are a great way to add character to your home and express your style. Learning how to weather cedar shingles can help you customize your roof's appearance.

Most homes come with traditional shingles that give a home a more industrial or modern appearance. Rather than continue with tradition, you might enjoy the idea of switching to a more rustic design. Take it one step further and use weathered wooden shingles to amplify the personality and beauty of your home and its roof.

Weathered wood shingles offer your roof a much-appreciated beauty, durability and extra insulation compared to other shingle materials. The weathered look offers a beautiful gray appearance to any roof and compliments most colors and architectural styles.

If the gray weathered appearance doesn't immediately convince you, wood shingles, also known as cedar shake roofing, come in several different color options that each provide their own unique and stunning aesthetics and styles. Cedar shakes can come in cedar tone, butternut, slate gray and natural. No matter which color option you choose, you are sure to be the envy of the block.

What Are Weathered Wood Shingles?

What Are Weathered Wood Shingles?

As you might have guessed, weathered wood shingles are shingles that have been exposed to the elements. You can choose from naturally weathered shingles and artificially weathered shingles.

Naturally weathered shingles rely on rain and the sun to wear down and distort the wooden shingles. The exposure to the weather causes the shingle to warp and discolor to the desired look. Naturally weathered shingles take years to achieve the necessary color. You can choose to have a professional install wood shingles and wait for the weathering, or you can use various alternative methods to achieve the gray appearance.

Artificially weathered wood shingles come from the factory with a coating that gives them the weathered look without waiting for the results. You can also hire the professionals at Cedar Roof Coatings to apply a coating at home that seals and protects the shingle while giving the weathered appearance. Having your shingles artificially weathered is quicker and easier, but many people still prefer the natural process.

Whichever option you choose, the results are mostly the same. In some situations, an artificially weathered shingle will have a brighter and bolder color than naturally.

When you begin shopping for weathered cedar shingles, keep in mind that not all shingles that claim to be weathered wood are made from wood. Because of the time it takes to create a weathered look, many companies offer wood shingle alternatives, such as asphalt or some other material that bears a similar resemblance to real weathered, wood shingles. These alternatives can provide you with a similar look, but if you want authentic weathered cedar shingles, be sure to check the material of the shingle first.

How Do You Make Cedar Shingles Look Weathered?

Weathered cedar shingles come in two variations — natural and artificial. Artificial weathering occurs by having a professional apply a coating that gives the illusion of weathering without actually exposing the shingles to the elements for extended periods.

Natural weathering comes from exposing the shingles to rain, wind, sun and other weather elements. While all the elements affect the weathering process, the primary focus is on sun exposure. Exposure to moisture, heat, cold and abrasion also help the process.

After direct contact with the sun, the shingles undergo a physical and chemical change that slowly alters their appearance. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays cause a photochemical reaction with the layers it contacts. Because of the amount of energy the sun produces, it can easily break down and change the wood's structure.

If you do not plan on weathering your wooden shingles, you should get a professional from Cedar Roof Coatings to apply a protective coating over them to prevent the weathering process from occurring. Any amount of exposure to the sun will begin the process. Fortunately, weathering is not a permanent process once it begins. As long as a professional applies the coating fast enough, the photochemical reaction should not occur.

One important note to remember is that weathering is not the same as decay. Weathering relies on the sun and some moisture to amplify the effects of the sun. Decay occurs when too much moisture has seeped into the shingles and caused mold, moss and fungi to grow.

Different Types of Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles come in two different varieties that have different characteristics. You can choose either white cedar shingles or red cedar shingles. As you may have guessed, the weathering appearance changes drastically depending on which style you choose. Among appearance differences, the different colors also vary in the aging process and durability.

When it comes to choosing which type of cedar is best for you, you will need to take into consideration:

  • Grain: Grain type affects how much moisture passes through the wood.

  • Tannic acid: This wood component serves as a natural preservative.

  • Durability: Durability refers to how durable the wood is to external forces.

  • Weathering: This means the appearance of wood after weathering occurs.

  • Color options: The wood's natural color affects the use of coatings to achieve alternative colors.

White Cedar Shingles

White cedar shingles tend to be more popular with homeowners who live along the coast. The gray color from weathering comes out beautifully with the UV rays and salt from the ocean.

  • Grain: White cedar tends to have a wider grain than other types of wood.

  • Tannic acid: White cedar has a lower tannic acid count, so the sun can alter it easier.

  • Durability: Due to the wider grain and low tannic acid, white cedar is less durable.

  • Weathering: After sun exposure, white cedar takes on a silver or gray coloring.

  • Color options: Because of the lighter tone and whiter color, you can have a professional coat your white cedar shingles in a variety of different colors.

Red Cedar Shingles

Red cedar shingles offer a more rustic appearance that is reminiscent of farmhouses and rural homes. While they are more popular for inland homes, they can make a great contrast for beach-side homes, too.

  • Grain: Red cedar has a tighter grain, so it doesn't absorb as much water.

  • Tannic acid: Red cedar has a higher concentration of tannic acid, helping preserve it.

  • Durability: With the tighter grain and higher tannic acid, red cedar is more durable and can last longer than white cedar. The tighter grain helps prevent moisture from causing moss and fungi. The higher tannic acid keeps the wood from warping as much.

  • Weathering: Red cedar weathers into a rich, dark color that contrasts well with lighter colors. Red cedar does tend to weather inconsistently. You might notice blotchiness which means more upkeep.

  • Color options: The dark color limits your options. Unless you are choosing a darker coating, the red cedar may not show the color properly. The tighter grain also makes it more difficult for a coating to absorb into the cedar. You are better off using the natural weathering look with red cedar shingles.

Naturally Weathered Cedar Shingles

If you prefer naturally weathered cedar shingles, the process is very simple. Once you decide which type of cedar you prefer, have the roof installed without further treatment and let the weather do its job.

You will have to keep an eye out for over-exposure to the rain so excessive moisture does not build up. Schedule regular maintenance with Cedar Roof Coatings and check your shingles occasionally to ensure they weather evenly and without overt discoloration. Observing your shingles regularly also helps you know when they've reached your desired color so you can prevent further weathering from occurring.

Natural weathering does take time for the effects to show through fully. How long the weathering process is for cedar shingles depends on where you live and how much sun and heat you expose the shingles to. If you live in areas of high rainfall, you may want to consider using treated wood to speed up the process or use an artificially weathered shingle instead.

Artificially Weathered Cedar Wood Shingles

Artificially Weathered Cedar Wood Shingles

You may not enjoy the idea of having to wait for your cedar shingles to weather naturally. The process can take some time, and depending on your situation, you may want to consider using artificially weathered shingles instead. With artificially weathered shingles, you can skip the entire weathering process and ensure that your shingles last longer and have better durability.

Your ideal option when it comes to artificially aging shingles is to have Cedar Roof Coatings apply an alternative coating that gives the illusion of a weathered look, giving your roof character and uniqueness without sacrificing its effectiveness.

If you want cedar shingles, a weathering coating is often your best option. Having our professionals at Cedar Roof Coatings apply a weathering finish allows you to have a beautiful weathered look while also protecting your shingles from other external forces. Some finishes have a built-in coating that keeps moisture from penetrating the shingles and blocks UV rays from causing the photochemical reaction. Weather will not alter or damage your shingles, and you can begin to enjoy the benefits immediately.

Preservation as Artificial Weathering

Some people may argue that preserving your weathered shingles is a form of artificial weathering. Stopping the weathering process from continuing takes away from the natural process of the wood.

For most people, once the desired color and look have been achieved, they do not want the shingles to progress beyond that point. Have an expert from Cedar Roof Coatings apply a protective coating that stops further weathering from occurring. Once applied, this coating protects against UV rays, repels water, prevents wood rot and eliminates mold and mildew.

Because having a professional add a protective coating interferes with the natural aging process, you rely on artificial methods to create the weathered look. However, leaving the shingles to age on their own without interfering with the process reduces your roof's durability, making it more vulnerable to rot and mildew and greatly reducing its life span.

Untreated vs. Treated Aging

You have several different options when weathering your wood shingles, but they can generally be broken down into two categories — untreated aging and treated aging.

Untreated Aging

As you might have guessed, untreated aging is the process of allowing your shingles to weather and change on their own. Regular maintenance from Cedar Roof Coatings can help prevent excess moisture levels, but for the most part, you leave the shingles to change on their own. This method provides the most natural look and requires little interference. The cedar weathers on its own as it would if it was left in nature.

Treated Aging

Treated aging occurs when you do take an active role in the weathering process. In most cases, treated aging involves other influences to help accelerate the weathered look. Keep in mind that these outside influences may cause the weathered color to appear brighter, darker or blotchier.

There are two variations of treated aging that you should take into consideration. First, you have the treated aging that stems from applying coatings on your wood to give it a more immediate weathered look. Second, you can get a professional from Cedar Roof Coatings to apply certain products to the shingles to help speed up the process.

For coatings, you have various options to choose from depending on the color you want and the color of the shingle. You will most likely use a weathering coatingto achieve the desired results. A team member from Cedar Roof Coatings can assist you in making the right choice for your roof.

Rather than receive immediate results, you can request a professional apply a special mixture of equal parts water and baking soda to the shingles, then allow the baking soda to mix with the tannic acid in the wood and amplify the effects of the sun.

Age Your Roof Gracefully With Cedar Roof Coatings

Age Your Roof Gracefully With Cedar Roof Coatings

Cedar roof coatings are an excellent way to maintain the appearance and durability of your wooden shingles. If you choose to allow your shingles to weather naturally, the last thing you want is to have to start the process all over or switch to artificial shingles. Coatings protect your shingles from the effects of the weather, blocking UV rays from penetrating the wood and repelling moisture.

Trust Cedar Roof Coatings to provide you with the best solution for preserving your stunning weathered cedar shingles. Call us at 203-847-5740 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.

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